Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

What would happen if you or your partner were suddenly too ill to work? What if you have a business to maintain that supports your family, but major surgery requires you to stop work for an extended period of time? Would your business eventually fail in your absence? How would you support your family if there is no income?

These are frightening questions, but they are a harsh reality for mothers who are self-employed and running their own business. Some women are placed on bed rest early in pregnancy, and other working moms are forced out of work to care for sick children. It’s not uncommon to be out of work as a parent.

When you have your own business, and others to support, these are critical aspects to consider. Many parents are unsatisfied with their corporate job, but it can be terrifying to leave the small comforts like short-term and long-term disability benefits. But running your own business has its own benefits, like being able to attend any event that is important to your child because you make your own schedule.

So what can you do to protect yourself and your family in a financial crisis in the wake of an illness or injury? It is possible to have peace of mind, without the corporate safety blanket, and still be able to provide for your family.

Improve Your Financial Health

Regardless of where you are at in life, you are capable of creating your own financial safety net.

1. Pay off high interest debt – There are going to be large expenses like your home, but otherwise, you should focus on paying down debt. Forget the savings account for the time being, because the interest that you save by aggressively paying down debt is more than you would gain by keeping money in savings.

2. Build a savings account – As soon as your debt is paid down, you certainly should focus on establishing a substantial savings account. Forgo the purchases that you don’t need, like a new tv, and save enough to cover 6 months work of living expenses in case of an emergency.

3. Change spending habits – How are you spending your money? Do you need that daily coffee, or could that money be going elsewhere? Budget yourself, and your family, because they don’t need McDonald’s every day any more than you need Starbucks. A few dollars here and there can really add up.

4. Invest in a flexible life insurance policy – As a business owner or self-employed mom, you want a policy that offers short- and long-term disability coverage, business interruption coverage, and other protections that will offer stability when life has you busy with other things.

Improve Your Physical Health

Being financially prepared is important, but the best way to prevent health issues that could lead to your absence in business is to stay healthy.

1. Change your eating habits – Introduce more vegetables (you and your kids can suffer through peas together) and eat plenty of fruit, lean meat, and healthy grains. Drink water, limit fast food intake, and you’ll see a difference in your energy levels.

2. Exercise –┬áThree days, 30 minutes a day is a good goal to strive for. If you can, five days, 45 minutes a day can have a huge impact. Exercising as a family can teach your kids healthy habits early on.

3. Keep up on well-visits – You wouldn’t let your kids skip their yearly check-up, and you shouldn’t either. See your doctor regularly and follow through with age-appropriate screenings. Catching an issue early can make all the difference, and the potential of fixing a health problem can motivate you to make the right lifestyle changes.

4. Minimize stress – Work-life balance needs to be a priority, and that can be especially difficult when you’re running your own business. Regardless, you want to make time for hobbies, family, and friends. Taking a moment to de-stress can rejuvenate you for each day.

The smallest changes can make the biggest difference. By staying healthy and practicing good finances, you can ensure that you and your family always have what you need.